Monday, 19 October 2015

Guest Blog: Benedict Barber - Real Magic Definitely Exists!

Real magic is the misinterpretation of the trick/illusion in the mind of the spectator. The hand is NOT quicker than the eye! This is the biggest fallacy in our business. It is simply not possible for me to move my hand faster than you can see it.

It is, however, possible for me to redirect your attention.

Therefore in my opinion, and according to the late and great Tommy Wonder (my favourite close up magician of all time), magic is the result of redirection of the audience’s attention on the behalf of the performer.

Misdirection sounds too haphazard to me. Let’s just call it redirection shall we?

If 3 people see a car accident, 3 honest people, within a matter of seconds they will give different reports as to what happened. This is not intentional deception; it is the way the mind works. This is the way all good magicians work - we play with your mind, we create illusions on all levels with what you see, what we say, helping you to perceive and believe what we want.

Magic in theatre has always been an interesting affair. Sometimes very well executed, sometimes a lame addition, there seems to be a certain disrespect for magic with certain highbrow theatregoers. This disrespect is probably the result of a misconception of what the art really is, or having seen a lame attempt in the past.

If someone goes to a store and buys a trumpet they can’t call themselves a musician, similarly if someone runs round a running track once they can’t call themselves an athlete, yet there are certain people who go to a magic shop, buy a few tricks and then call themselves a magician. It is, shall we say, harmful to our industry…

But when magic is done well it is worthy of being considered an art the same as anything else. In fact in many ways more so! When you look at the pile of rubbish that masquerades as modern art sometimes, it makes my blood boil, some of it is complete and utter garbage…Yet at Edinburgh when it comes to festival time, there is not even a category for MAGIC. How disrespectful, how rude and insulting. This must change.

What we are doing with Master of the Macabre is very different. We are pushing the envelope theatrically and pushing the comfort zone. It says on the poster “The Most Terrifying Magic Show You Will Ever See!” We want to make this show entertaining, fun, deeply disturbing and highly, highly memorable.

We are offering our audience the chance of a very different type of experience where their beliefs and prejudices will be challenged on a nightly basis. After all, if we are to really evolve as a species, I mean really develop we have to push ourselves beyond our limits right? And we hope to do this in a very… artistic way!

Benedict Barber

Newly discovered magical talent Benedict Barber bringing his story to the stage in Master Of The Macabre which runs at the Vaults Theatre in Waterloo until 1st November 2015. Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Jack Sain 

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